Do you or someone you know say things like, “I am too old to exercise”, “I have too many aches and pains”, or “Exercise is for young people” …. Some of these may be real or just something we think we have to accept as a normal part of aging. There are valid reasons to why we slow down and become more sedentary as we age. One of the biggest reasons is health problems along with aches and pains. Another big one is worrying about getting injured or falling. Then there are some people who love to use age as an excuse not to exercise, as they simply don’t like it. The real deal is though, that all the reasons not to exercise, are going to be the exact reasons to exercise. As we grow older, exercise in the sense of an active lifestyle, becomes more important the ever.
There have been numerous studies proving that physical activity is the pathway to longevity, even if starting in the senior years. Not only do you add years to your life but you have quality of life, you live – living, not live – dying. An active lifestyle will boost energy, protect against chronic disease, help with memory/mind, help manage pain or arthritis and most importantly for some people is, it allows for independence.
The good news is, it doesn’t have to be crazy intense workouts at a gym, rather movement in general. This would include functional strength exercises, stretching and balance. These may look like a morning walk, chair squats and easy side to side, corner to corner stretches. If you have even less mobility and are mostly chair bound there are still things you can do. There are numerous upper body exercises that can be preformed with light weights or soup cans, to leg lifts from sitting, to stretching and reaching for the sky.
Whatever it is, just do it and if you do it in a way that it doesn’t feel like exercise then it will be enjoyable and something to look forward too. Some ideas are:
Listen to music or audiobook or even a favourite TV program while marching on the spot.
Walk and window shop
Walk or bike along a well-groomed nature trail and take in the nature around you, even stop to take pictures
Walk with a friend or fur baby – a dog makes a great excuse to get out
Walk the golf course instead of using a cart
Water aerobics – this is one of the best and most comfortable ways to get into exercise, especially if there is existing pain or stiffness.
Do tai chi or yoga to incorporate balance and flexibility. Balance is imperative to create confidence as it helps maintain standing and stability, whether you’re stationary or moving around. Most importantly, it reduces the risk of falling or the fear of falling.
Try something new – pickle ball has become a favorite sport among people over 50
The most important thing is to start. Even if it’s only 10 minutes to begin with, or getting up every 30 minutes for about 3 minutes to do some sort of activity, can make all the difference. You want to make sure you don’t get discouraged, so start slow and build up from there.
Look for next weeks corner on, how to figure out what defines if you are fit or not.
*If this article or any past articles leaves you with questions, the want to be a better you, the courage to take the first step to a happier you, than please contact me at: